Stand by Your Tiger

Bank of America Corp. is sticking with Tiger Woods despite his bizarre car accident and ensuing admission of personal "transgressions."

Joe Goode, a B of A spokesman, said Wednesday that the company "continues to offer" Woods and his family support "as they work through these difficult personal matters." B of A also plans to stand by a sponsorship arrangement it has with Woods' foundation and charitable golf tournament, which is being held this weekend in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

B of A, which inherited the sponsorships from its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp., has been in talks to broaden the relationship. "It is our plan at this time to continue to discuss opportunities with the Tiger Woods Foundation" that help young people, Goode said.

Perplexed Pilots

A well-publicized gaffe at Northwest Airlines Inc., his company's former longtime partner, gave Bob Daly of U.S. Bancorp an opportunity for a pointed joke Wednesday that earned the biggest laugh in the room.

Daly, U.S. Bancorp's senior vice president of retail payment solutions, was discussing its new FlexPerks credit card program during a panel discussion at the Cards&Payments Loyalty Conference in New York sponsored by American Banker's parent, SourceMedia Inc. (U.S. Bancorp introduced FlexPerks to compete with the Northwest card portfolio it lost last year, after Delta Air Lines Inc. bought Northwest and switched the combined card portfolio to American Express Co.)

Daly — in perfect deadpan fashion — brought up the recent story of the Northwest pilots who said they overshot a Minneapolis runway by 150 miles because they were distracted by a new computer scheduling system.

U.S. Bancorp's decision to introduce FlexPerks rather than sell its remaining card accounts to Amex caught some people by surprise, he said. "Especially at Northwest. The pilots were debating it in the cockpit. For hours."

Fight Goes On

Bloomberg News reporter Mark Pittman, whose investigations of the U.S. banking system bailout led his employer to sue the Federal Reserve, died last week at the age of 52 from a heart condition. The lawsuit continues, though, with briefs due next week in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan and oral arguments expected to start in January.

The Fed is seeking to overturn a lower court's Aug. 24 ruling that it must identify companies that received emergency loans last year. Pittman sought the names under the Freedom of Information Act, but the central bank argued that the information was not covered by the statute.

"Mark was very, very involved in the crafting of the papers," Bloomberg lawyer Charles Glasser said. "Legally [his death] doesn't change anything" in terms of the lawsuit, Glasser said. "But emotionally, you kind of want to win one for him."

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